HEBRON, Ky. -- For the first time in 21 years, the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport is no longer among nation's top 25 most expensive from which to fly.
An average ticket at CVG cost $378 in the second quarter, according to Department of Transportation numbers released Tuesday, a 13.5 percent decrease year-over-year. That ranks it 40th among the top 100 airports in the country – CVG's lowest position since the report was first published in 1995.
While still higher than the national average of $353, it betters three regional competitors: Lexington ($403), Dayton ($413) and Louisville ($439). Dayton ranked 20th nationally, while Louisville was No. 7. Lexington sat at 26th. That should help in terms of leakage, which the airport has worked hard in recent months to address.
Previously, CVG's best ranking was 22nd. The airport was 20th in airfares earlier this year. As recently as the third quarter 2014, CVG was positioned as the most expensive airport in the country. It's been disparaged for it ever since.
“The second quarter is typically one of the busiest quarters of the year at CVG,” airport CEO Candace McGraw said. “It's rewarding to know that passengers are paying approximately $150 less now than they were two years ago.”
While much has been attributed to low-cost carriers Frontier Airlines and Allegiant Air, which carried 20.2 percent of CVG's total passenger load in the second quarter, other carriers are also contributing, officials said. American Airlines grew by 19 percent, for example, and United Airlines grew by 13 percent compared to last year. Delta also experienced an increase of 5 percent in local passengers.
“We are now positioned as one of the most competitive airports in the region; and with more nonstop destinations and peak-day departures than other airports,” McGraw said.
Many of CVG’s top destinations have seen passenger growth as a result of lower fares. LaGuardia is up 46 percent with fares decreasing 30 percent during the second quarter. Orlando, Philadelphia, Houston, Denver, Tampa, Baltimore, New Orleans and Austin also experienced year-over-year increases in passenger traffic -- more than 30 percent -- with fares decreasing on average more than 20 percent.
It's still cheaper, however, on average, to fly via Indianapolis or Columbus. Average fares there in Q2 were $351 and $367, respectively.
Average ticket prices